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Belgian cyclist hit with six-year ban for hiding motor in bike seat

Femke Van den Driessche is the first person to be banned for such an offence.

Belgian cyclist Femke Van den Driessche.
Belgian cyclist Femke Van den Driessche.

THE UCI GLOBAL cycling governing body has banned Femke Van den Driessche of Belgium for six years for the first recorded case of using hidden motors in racing.

The organisation hailed a new scanner which detected the electric motor as a major breakthrough in the war against the sport’s latest cheats.

The motor was found in a bike used by the U23 European cyclo-cross champion at the U23 World Championships in Belgium in January.

The 19-year-old was banned for six years and fined 20,000 Swiss francs (€18,180). All of Van den Driessche’s results from October last year have been annulled and she was ordered to return all prize money and medals.

The magnetic resonance scanner used by the UCI “quickly detects motors, magnetic fields and solid objects concealed in a frame or components,” the federation statement said.

The Vivax motor “was concealed along with a battery in the seat-tube. It was controlled by a Bluetooth switch installed underneath the handlebar tape,” the statement added.

UCI president Brian Cookson said the new testing was a major breakthrough which would become widespread, including at major tours.

“We have invested considerable resources in developing this new and highly-effective scanning technology and also in strengthening the sanctions applicable to anyone found cheating in this way,” he said.

This case is a major victory for the UCI and all those fans, riders and teams who want to be assured that we will keep this form of cheating out of our sport.

The new method was used to test 274 bikes at the Track Cycling World Championships in London, 216 at the Tour of Flanders, 232 at Paris-Roubaix, and 173 at the U23 Liege-Bastogne-Liège race.

International riders association (CPA) president Gianni Bugno this month called for life bans for those caught with motors.

(C) AFP 2016

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